To further the company's goal of zero-defect remodeling, Jerome Quinn and his staff at Sawhorse in Atlanta developed a series of checklists, basically for trade subcontractors, to tighten quality control. “It makes sense,” says Quinn, “just to have a checklist at a site if for no other reason than to prevent the sins of omission.” But it's proved much more than that. “Now I have a way to evaluate performance qualitatively as opposed to quantitatively.” And Sawhorse has gone a step further by tying compensation to the completed checklist.

With the help of their tradespeople, Sawhorse developed 28 checklists, including lists for framing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, ceramic tile, drywall, and roofing.

Quinn says the program shows their subs that Sawhorse considers them professionals. The subs check off the lists on their own.

We go behind to double check,” says Quinn. “If you check something off on the list as done and it's not, we'll notice. There'll be a holdback on your pay.”

Sawhorse started the program in 2005 and is collecting data for future use. “Our promise to our trades is that when we pick one to work on a project, we're going to look at the score and go with the person with the fewest defects over a period of time.”